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A House for Artists: Affordable and sustainable housing by Apparata

United Kingdom Architecture News - Dec 23, 2021 - 10:38   1266 views

A House for Artists: Affordable and sustainable housing by Apparata

Create London announced their first residential project - A House for Artists. This is a new kind of affordable and sustainable housing model that comes with long-term civic engagement in Barking Town Centre in East London.

A House for Artists: Affordable and sustainable housing by Apparata

Image © Johan Dehlin


A House for Artists was created with long-term civic engagement as its goal; it will provide homes that are not only welcoming but also enable creative productivity through interaction between residents and their surroundings.

A House for Artists: Affordable and sustainable housing by Apparata

Image © Johan Dehlin

It is said by Create London, the first of its kind in the UK, that A House for Artists provides flexible living space for twelve artists and their families. The house has a studio workspace, ground floor community space, and shared working yard that can be opened to the public.

A House for Artists: Affordable and sustainable housing by Apparata

Image © Johan Dehlin


The design process was led by APPARATA, an architecture, design and research practice based in East London known for its advocacy and research on arts and community work stressing collective life through construction as critical practice.

“They design and construct buildings, furniture and books: tools for everyday life that open up unknown possibilities. They work with how things are put together: materials, structures, identities, communities, landscapes.”

A House for Artists: Affordable and sustainable housing by Apparata

Image © Johan Dehlin

APPARATA has this housing model that is legible and playful, but it will also be civic. Their design can combine public-facing spaces with artist studios and new housing arrangements - so the public will be able to come in, but residents still have privacy.

Designing for the environment has always been an important part of this company's work. They have four major themes: playful design, community spirit and flexible adaptability in order to create products that will last while also being sustainable.

A House for Artists: Affordable and sustainable housing by Apparata

Image © Ståle Eriksen

Playful design

A House for Artists has a dual role as both a public and domestic building, made up from a playful tectonic of stacked shapes with a clear structural legibility. A two-storey triangular form allows for variation from the standard apartment type, and better connects to the surrounding terraced housing and blocks. The upper floors provide twelve apartments, while the ground floor, set out at a larger rhythm, accommodates an ongoing public arts programme.

A House for Artists: Affordable and sustainable housing by Apparata

Image © Ståle Eriksen

Community

The design aims to support the forming of communities both inside the building and within the local area, through shared entrance patios and courtyard, and a street facing public space. Resident artists can use the ground floor as work studios for their own practices as well as for the public programme, while the apartments offer co-housing possibilities. 

Each set of three apartments shares a communal outdoor space scaled for eating and working together, as well as access. One floor of apartments has double doors in the party walls, creating optional and flexible shared living possibilities, such as for parties, childcare or co-working.

A House for Artists: Affordable and sustainable housing by Apparata

Image © Ståle Eriksen

Adaptability and flexibility

APPARATA’s housing model provides adaptability, robustness, and generous floor to ceiling heights in the tradition of open industrial units rather than the corridor-based flat. 

While flats in the UK are typically restricted in their layout due to one-way escape routes via corridors that cannot be altered, A House For Artists provides a robust two-sided open-air escape strategy, eliminating the need for corridors and freeing up floor plans for modification. Residents are invited to add to and adapt their apartments during their tenancy, removing or adding walls to meet their needs. Raw material finishes provide structural clarity and mean residents can easily read what can be built where.

A House for Artists: Affordable and sustainable housing by Apparata

Image © Ståle Eriksen

Sustainability

The building is constructed using a single skin of 50% GGBS concrete, whereby half the cement is substituted with a by-product of the steel industry, and other material build-ups are lean. The formwork was made using standard reusable parts and left unlined, reducing waste on site. Exposed ceilings provide thermal mass to reduce overheating, while covered walkways reduce solar gain at the hottest time of day. Dual aspect openings allow natural cross ventilation, and hot water is provided through a communal Air Source Heat Pump.

A House for Artists: Affordable and sustainable housing by Apparata

A House for Artists is being built on behalf of the Council by Be First, and contractors Murphy Group. As said by Be First, it will be rented at below market rates to 12 artists and their families, in return for working with local artists and the local community to develop the creative industries and creative works locally. The artists were selected by a panel including Grayson Perry, who will be creating a bespoke commission for the development.

Photographs © Johan Dehlin and © Ståle Eriksen

Top image © Ståle Eriksen

Perspective © APPARATA via Be First

> via Create London, APPARATA and Be First